In Memorium: Sarah Salisbury

Visiting with Sarah in Hawaii, 1987

With the passing of Sarah Salisbury on April 6, the community of miniaturists lost a great friend, connoisseur and generous benefactor. She was passionate about miniatures and their makers, and had an eye for the best. Sarah was there at the flowering of the miniatures resurgence in the mid-70’s, attending shows, and quietly observing who and what was out there. By the time Noel and I met her in 1976, she had begun to collect some of the finest pieces of the finest artisans, encouraging them, and us, on to ever better work. She seemed to be at every show—at that time they were almost every weekend, many affiliated with NAME. One of my favorite Sarah memories is walking around the sawdust-covered floors of Billy Bob’s rodeo bar arena in Ft. Worth kibitzing, drinking (uncharacteristically for her) Coronas with a lime wedge (awful stuff), and talking over the show we were attending. She befriended collectors, hobbyists, and ferreted-out new artisans to nurture along. It was in that role that she wrote “The Private Eye,” a longtime column for Nutshell News in which she sleuthed-out particular items people wanted for their collections, as well as spotlighting new artisans she found along the way. Where Sarah went, the crowd followed. She was among that small handful of major collectors who put new artisans on the map. In those days miniatures was growing fast, and Sarah helped accelerate not just the pace but the broadening of the field, creating a snowball effect of collectors and artisans.  She was there at the beginning of the IGMA, an organization founded to promote miniatures as art, and she poured herself into finding Guild-quality artisans from around the world. And she did it all with grace and humor. She made the making of miniatures as a career a possibility for Noel and me, and I am certain we are not alone in attributing the longevity and extent of our reputation in large part to Sarah. She opened her home and heart to so many of us. And so much of what we enjoy today in miniatures is there because Sarah was there. Farewell, dear friend. If there isn’t already a miniatures heaven, we trust you will create one.

About smallhousepress

In 1974, my husband Noel and I began building aged miniature houses for collectors and museums. We were 70's dropouts. We quit our careers in advertising--art director and writer, respectively--and escaped Los Angeles in a VW camper and a Bug for a simpler life on the coast of Washington State. From a tiny studio in our home, we built 64 houses and buildings. Our specialty was aging--making a structure that reflected the scars and wrinkles of time, the elements, and human habitation. In the 80s we began teaching our techniques in workshops around the country, and I began to write our how-to's in Nutshell News and Miniature Collector. In 2000 we migrated across the Columbia to Astoria, OR, where , in 2011, we retired from miniatures. We are Fellows of the International Guild of Miniature Artisans and taught at their annual school in Castine, ME. By avocation I am a writer and poet. The blog is my way of working back into a writing routine, as well as recording what we did, and what we learned along the way.
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